Wednesday, July 04, 2007

how nothing's worse than a painful goodbye

some of you might remember that my friend edmund walshe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago, and he set up a website about his condition and a call for help.

yesterday, on july 3rd, edmund passed away peacefully at his home.

edmund dedicated most of his professional career finding jobs for developmentally disabled adults. if you knew him, even for just a moment, you'd realize that his job was just an extention, the true essense, of his heart and generosity. it's not an easy job. it's trying. it's rewarding, yes, but also disappointing. it takes an exceptional person.

a couple of years ago, however, he took a brave step, and finally doing something for himself, by moving in a completely different direction with his career by entering ad school, although at an advanced age. like most other industries, advertising is for young people with boundless energy, with eager hearts ready for countless rejections. it's not for someone in his early forties who had already spent most of his life in the grind and was essentially starting over.

i was his teacher. he was a fantastic student. and although he had ten years seniority of life on me, he never disrespected that. in fact, he was amazing in always wanting to learn more, always asking, always working while always making the situation comfortable. trust me, it took a mature person to thrive in that situation.

in fact, it took an exceptional person.

i was not alone in that assesment.

not only did he get through school, but he did it well, extremely well. and, in the process, helped by post-class beer drinking escapades, we became friends, good solid friends, way beyond the teacher/student relationship that it was formed from.

when he got a job in seattle, i was happy for him, despite the empty bar stool on my right. oh well.

eventually, i had the opportunity to freelance up there, at his agency, and he and his wife, parks, welcomed me into their new city and into their favorite bars and their new home, always with a joke and a cold beer at the ready. nothing less was to be expected.

a year later, when they moved back to san francisco, i was elated. and i knew this amazing city was about to become an ever finer place with its newest resident.

but then, as we met up for more drinks in more random bars and made plans for doing it again, the cancer intervened. those plans became hopes. and, instead of elbowing up a the bars, we would be meeting up at barbeques, along with overflowing crowds gathered in tribute of him. at those times, although his body might have been failing, his incendiary humor and his good soul never wavered.

that's what i'm gonna miss from my good friend, edmund walshe. that's what we'll all miss. there never was a soul that deserved better than what the last year gave him, and yet, never let it be known.

and, although there's very little solace in that empty bar stool to my right, again, i do know that wherever the afterlife takes us, i'm sure it's a finer place today with its newest resident.

he proved that many times over.

i'm really gonna miss you, buddy.

if anyone knew him, there will be a memorial service on sunday, june 8th at 2 pm in the interfaith chapel in the presidio in san francisco.

3 comments:

kascy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kascy said...

well said :( i had the honor of being one of his partners in school and just being in his presence always made me smile.

i will miss edmund.

RBrown said...

Wow, I'm so sad - I just found out about this. Didn't know him well, but everyone who did know him only had amazing things to say about him.